.303 rifle grenade cartridges

From TonyE’s website I believe the one on the left is an H Mark 1z because the top half is blackened. Of course the HS says D1Z so I’m not sure.

The one on the right has the top and bottom colored like an H4 but the color on top is more red than black and it’s not crimped. The HS is no help.

What do you experts think these are?

Thanks, Harvey

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Your cartridge on the left is the .303 Grenade H Mk Iz made by Defence Industries, Canada.
On the right is a .303 Ballistite Mk Iz L made by the Colonial Ammunition Company, New Zealand. This is identified by the purple dye to the upper part of the case. The black staining around the rim area is just tarnish and is not intentional.


Thanks very much Jim

Jim I forgot to ask what the L means.

That’s a good question but I’m afraid I don’t know the answer! I have a feeling it means ‘Land’ but I’m expecting to get corrected.

It seems like H is usually used that’s why I wondered about the L.

Both cartridges merely used Ball cases so don’t have the Grenade designation. ID is merely by the colouring and the open case mouth.

? L. I see DI which is Defence Industries.


Yes they are both ball cases. I think what Jim meant was the left one looks like what is described as an H Mk 1z in the LoC and the other looks like a Mk 1z L. I was merely wondering why an L would be used when I thought H was generally used in the LoC descriptions.


The Canadian case is actually Defence Industries ‘universal case’, which was introduced in 1943. I guess this was done to expediate production. As the case does not indicate the load (ball, trace, AP etc), any load can be found in this case.

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Jim, please can I ask where ".303 Ballistite Mk Iz L " comes from. I can’t find any reference to an “L” in any of my literature or lists?


Rich, I’m afraid I don’t know where I got that from. And, as you know, I no longer have any of my reference material. Most likely is that I’ll have seen an empty carton at some point and noted the designation.

the C.A.C. cartridge is a Walsrode Grenade blank and they were only produced in 1941 , 42 ,and 43 all with the same amount of staining .
I don’t know about the ‘L’ desigination on them but it is something to do with mk 5 .303 blanks of this period when everything else was a mk 7 .
Time for one of the experts to takeover now.

“L” in British ordnance nomenclature generally denotes that the item is of “Local” modification. This could be where the item deviates from the approved Woolwich design, or sometimes, a completely new design.

Errata “Local” modification should read “Local Pattern”

Hi Roper - I think you may be referring the L designation given to standard blanks, such as Cartridge S.A. Blank .303 inch Cordite without Bullet Mark V. On purpose made cases, the head stamp would read MF 44 LV (for example).
Grenade launching and line throwing blanks were given the letter designation H, such Cartridge SA Rifle Grenade .303 inch H Mark II. On purpose made cases, the head stamp would read MF 42 HII (for example).

Because any reject case can be used for blanks, a variety of headstamps from any other loading can be used, which can become a little confusing. I have ball, trace, AP and incendiary cases that have been loaded as blanks. Please correct me if I misinterpreted your meaning.

So “local pattern” Tim?


Yes - (I was having a bit of brain fade there) Local Pattern

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This was posted a year ago in this forum:

Obviously CAC made H Mk 1z rifle grenade cartridges. It doesn’t show what the cartridges in the can look like so it doesn’t solve anything.


Harvey - they would have looked like this (only purple stain, not black [see notes in second picture]):

Source: Edwards, A.O. (2011) Headstamp Guide .303 inch British Service Ammunition. p. 110.

Source: Edwards, A.O. (2011) Headstamp Guide .303 inch British Service Ammunition. p. 111.

As stated above, the Canadian and New Zealand grenade blanks didn’t have their own for purpose case, so you won’t see the H Iz etc on these.

I sent my photos to the New Zealand Cartridge Collectors Club just to be thorough. The Club Secretary responded thusly:

"Hi Harvey,

Yes the cartridge on the right is the H Mk.1 Z & never used the letter L in its description."

So I suppose between that and Mayhem’s last response the cartridge’s identity is confirmed.

Thanks everyone. Harvey

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Thanks for following that up Harvey and my apologies for misleading you!